Could the anti-immigrant loudmouths pass a U.S. citizenship test?

Originally published by The Los Angeles Times:

Et Tu, "Native" Californians?

To listen to talk radio and cable television, which are dominated by conservatives, the national and state debates over immigration give the impression that most legal residents of the state of California oppose immigrant workers here illegally and might even be favorably disposed to Mitt Romney’s suggestion that they “self-deport.”

It’s not a crazy assumption. After all, state voters in 1994 overwhelmingly approved Proposition 187 – which prohibited people here illegally from using such public services as schools and healthcare.

As it turns out, however, the voices of anti-immigration forces are disproportionately louder than their actual numbers.

A new poll of likely California voters shows that a whopping 73% support granting citizenship to immigrants here illegally if they agreed to pay back taxes, pass a background check and learn the English language.

Support for legalizing the status of people currently living in the shadows is not only majoritarian, but broad. “Even 61% of Republicans favored it, although nationally GOP politicians have been the biggest obstacle to immigration reform. All ethnic and age groups strongly supported such citizenship. So did every California region, whether blue or red,” writes Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton.

At this point, it’s clear that nativists have lost the argument. Although I am and have always been sympathetic to the concept that a nation-state isn’t truly sovereign if its borders remain unguarded, the reality is that there are at least 10 million people in the United States illegally. There are about 2.6 million in California, accounting for about 10% of the workforce. ]
It’s also ironic that we demand that people who come to the United States learn English, yet 14% of U.S. adults can’t read. Should we throw them out? –

They’re already here. They’re working. They’re our friends, our neighbors, our colleagues, our loves and our spouses. Fortunately, there isn’t the political will to deport them. Since these workers are not going anywhere, it seems ridiculous to condemn them to being terrified every time the cops pull them over for speeding.

Seems to me that immigration opponents ought to focus not on the people who are here and who should be grandfathered in, but on preventing future illegal immigration by lobbying Congress to build an impermeable border between the United States and Mexico.

Of course, they’re not likely to get very far, since both major parties have a vested interest in the status quo. Immigrants here illegally represent future Democratic voters and are easily exploited by the business interests near and dear to the Republican Party. The GOP must draw votes from Latinos if it’s to remain viable in a nation in which the demographics are becoming less white.

Today’s cartoon is partly a jab at the anti-immigration types who pretend to be motivated by economic or patriotic motives but are really just racist. It is also a reference to the fact that many native-born Americans would have trouble jumping through the hoops required of those seeking to become naturalized citizens.

A 2012 study found that one out of three native-born American citizens would fail the civics section of the test administered to those applying for U.S. citizenship. Among the highlights: 85% couldn’t identify “the rule of law” – well, maybe that’s because they’ve been watching one president after another ignore it – and that 75% didn’t know what the judiciary does. Also, 62% couldn’t identify the governor of their state.

As for the requirements that the 73% say they would impose on people here illegally, I wonder how many people with legal status could survive an IRS audit that required them to pay all the taxes on income they’ve failed to declare since they turned 18 … or would be able to cough up the dough.

It’s also ironic that we demand that people who come to the United States learn English, yet 14% of U.S. adults can’t read. Should we throw them out?

Here’s an idea: Let’s deport everyone who can’t pass the basic requirements to become an American citizen, whether or not they were born here.

The country will empty out in no time.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

38 thoughts on “Could the anti-immigrant loudmouths pass a U.S. citizenship test?

  1. We own the land. They do not. There is no hypocrisy. It is your own invention. We don’t have to say, “Oh gosh and golly gee, they ought not be here but then again neither should we since our ancestors stole this land!”

  2. I’ve noticed that the bulk of the “speak English or get out” crowd don’t write no good English nohow. I love highlighting their grammatical errors and asking them when they’re leaving. It’s pretty much the only time I turn into a Language Nazi.

    > Here’s an idea: Let’s deport everyone who can’t pass the basic requirements to become an American citizen, whether or not they were born here.

    Here’s another: let’s make getting a voter registration card dependent upon passing that same citizenship test. If you don’t know how the system works, you shouldn’t be driving it. I’ve often suggested that our political critters should pass an extensive test demonstrating not only an understanding of Constitutional Law, but also math, physics, anthropology, climatology, economics and fucking LOGIC (not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea)

    • Just between you and I, it doesn’t matter if you highlight there grammatical errors. I’m a retired English teacher and I’ve often wandered why English is required practically every year in the public schools, yet their appears to be no improvement in correct usage over the years. You can forget about spelling, to — it just appears two be unimportant too most people. 😀

  3. Hey, Ted ~

    How about it if the American Goobermint treats felony international trespassers from Mexico (Guatamala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, etc.) the same way that southern-most, North-American government treats what it defines as illegal border-crashers (do note that Mexico knows the difference between tourists, “immigrants” — or people that it has given prior permission to be in the country legally — and south-bound migrating criminals wetbacking it into their country)?
    http://askville.amazon.com/Mexico-treat-illegal-aliens/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=68283492

    Or do you think that America’s legal residents should uncommonly foot the bill for internationally tresspassing felons?

    DanD

    • If you want to end illegal immigration, jail those who employ them. Going after just the immigrants actually benefits their law-breaking employers, who know they have no one to complain to about any mistreatment.

      • Especially if that employer is a corporation. There needs to be a death-sentence for corporate crooks, with minimum jail time involved for all CEO/CFO types.

        DanD

      • @ Russell –
        This immigration debate has been going on for decades. I remember growing up in West Texas, where “wetback” was a common descriptive for Mexicans. Some of my best friends in school were “wetbacks.”
        You hit the nail on the head with identifying the real culprits as the employers who hire illegals. They need to pay for their crimes.
        I’ve been a resident of Mexico for almost eight years — legally. I possess a Mexican driver’s license that was obtained by passing an exam written in Spanish. I’m fluent in German and know some French, but I’ve never studied Spanish. It’s my opinion (N.B.) that English should be a requirement for those wishing to join the U.S. society. It was when my wife (German-born) was naturalized. Why not assimilate?

    • uhhh, Dan? I assume you’re not Cherokee. Did you forget the part where your ancestors got here without legal sanction?

      Did you perhaps notice that those illegal immigrants committed genocide in order to steal the land from those who with a prior claim? Or that those European trespassers went on to build the great wealth that they don’t want to share with newcomers?

      There is truly no honor among thieves.

      • Well, CrazyH,

        If you wanna go all hyperbole about it, yeah. And since the Bible (TM, crazy bronze-age shepherds) functionally gave the entire planet (read it in the Talmud) to the Hebrews (an identity co-opted by New-Age world Jewry), then the rest of us goy-types should immediately succumb to either abject slavery or otherwise cut the throats of our entire families.

        The straw-man argument you use really is kinda stupid.

        You see CH, it’s a “rule-of-law” thing. Exempting a trespassing border-crook from compliance with the law is no less racist than is applying those laws ONLY to brown-skinned non(or poor)-English speakers from south (or from Far-East) of the border.

        Now,I’m kinda’ old, and I’ve known WHITE PEOPLE from Europe (and north-of-the-border) who’ve been deported because they were discovered living and working in the US without the proper documents. DO YOU KNOW ANY CAUCASIAN BORDER-CRASHERS WHO WERE GIVEN A PASS? I don’t thinks so.

        As it is, my family comes from Louisiana White-trash, and one time my grandmother assured to me that we do have “colored” g-codes floating in our family’s double-helix. There’s also even at least one Native-American female rape-victim hiding in that gene-code history.

        So, take your White-man’s-burden arguments and stuff them back in your ad-hominem cabinet drawer. Then maybe you can come up with a better argument as to why criminal border-crashers should be given a default, current-day, rule-of-law pass that requires all legal residents of the US to finance the more comfortable lifestyles of all those border-crashing dreamer-crooks.

        DanD

      • Could you take out your crayon and circle the straw man argument in my post? I think it’s stupid to make such a baseless accusation when your reply contains several.

        > DO YOU KNOW ANY CAUCASIAN BORDER-CRASHERS WHO WERE GIVEN A PASS?

        Why, yes, yes I do. Those would be the Hispanics you are whining about. Hispanics are just as Caucasian as Swedes.

        But I do know of a “gate-crasher” of Scandinavian descent, who came across the northern border. He lived and worked here without proper documentation. He even served in WWII. He was born in backwoods of Canada, his birth was recorded in a family bible, never had any formal documentation whatsoever. He was recognized by neither Canada or the US. He only became a citizen in his early sixties (nineteen eighty something.) The man was my father.

        So, there’s one. Can you document your “facts” about ‘only brown people being given amnesty?’ Granted, our southern neighbors have a lot more incentive to move than those to the north so it would be perfectly natural to have more seeking amnesty. The number you want would be expressed as a percentage.

        The “rule of law” to which you refer is actually, “might makes right” – some kings back in Europe decided they had the right to own this continent and they had the might to back it up. Then, sometime later, the English subjects living here decided to steal the King’s property, and had the might to back it up. They then decided they had the right to tell other people ‘no’ when they wanted a piece of the action.

        Back in 1845, the Mexicans decided they didn’t like gringos sneaking over the border into Texas and told them ‘no.’ – We took it from them anyway. So where’s your rule of law? The Mexicans have a more valid claim to the southwest than we do.

        > So, take your White-man’s-burden arguments and stuff them back in your ad-hominem cabinet drawer

        While you’ve got your crayons out, please circle either an ‘ad hominem argument’ or a White-man’s-burden argument in my original post.

        The fact of the matter is, “White Man’s Burden” is a racist point of view. It assumes that The White Man is a superior creature and is therefore burdened with supporting all the lesser peoples of the earth.

        > that requires all legal residents of the US to finance the more comfortable lifestyles of all those border-crashing dreamer-crooks.

        I just had some remodeling done. The crews came in basically two flavors. White guys with ‘American’ accents, and brown guys with Mexican accents. One group consistently worked hard and went the extra mile, while the other group suffered from Friday-itis, cut corners, and hid garbage for me to find later. Care to guess which-is-which?

        I’m going to go out on a limb here, and theorize that you eat food. If so, then undocumented laborers almost certainly figured in the production of that food. IOW, exactly the opposite of what you said: those underpaid workers support YOUR comfortable lifestyle.

      • In other words, CrazyH, land has always been stolen and because it has been stolen, no matter how much time has passed, descendents can claim no legitimacy and make no laws protecting themselves.

        Somehow we need to find a way to return lands to previous thieves at the very least. OH! Let’s return the original 13 states to the UK! Better than nothing right? And the southwest? Return it to Mexico? Let’s do one better and return it to Spain!

        You’re a real lunatic.

      • @Jack – I’ve always found that this whole internet discussion thing works better if you respond to things I’ve actually said.

      • You know what? You don’t get that card anymore. I’m confiscating it. Oh, the irony! That you go on and on about logic and can never put the pieces together. And then when you don’t respond to what Dan or I have said, you accuse us of the same!

      • Without taking sides, I would just point out that all anyone has to do is to follow the thread in order to figure out this tit-for-tat dialogue. 🙂

      • CrazyH said:

        Back in 1845, the Mexicans decided they didn’t like gringos sneaking over the border into Texas and told them ‘no.’ – We took it from them anyway. So where’s your rule of law? The Mexicans have a more valid claim to the southwest than we do.

        Jack Heat says:

        Enough.

      • I don’t understand your point.

        Other than a bit of confusion about Texas history (admitted to the Union in 1845 after gaining independence in 1836), what is it that you’re trying to say?

      • :: pats head ::

        Very GOOD, Jack. Yes, I did say those things.

        But I didn’t say one word about giving anything back: I merely recounted history. Nor did I say that nobody could ever make any laws: I simply noted that they are meaningless.

        My implied point – which should be understood by anyone who passed their sixth grade reading class – is that the nativists are huge hypocrites.

        If you believe those statements are in error, then please state your specific objections and I will cite references. But I still feel no need to defend the nonsense you invented.

      • @derleher –

        The Mexicans believed it was still theirs, Mexican-American war

        They had as much right to Texas as the Northern States did to the Southern States in 1861.

        But, as noted, might makes right.

      • @ CrazyH –

        It appears you might have missed my point: Texas became an independent Republic in 1836 and agreed to join the Union in 1845.

        The United States, per se, did not “steal” the Republic of Texas, regardless of whether the Mexicans still believed it to be a part of Mexico.

        🙂

      • OK.

        Last time. And I’ll go through it in painstaking detail, skipping no steps.

        You said that we cannot complain about illegal Mexicans because their country has more of a claim to the southwest than we do. More of a claim because they stole it before us. And since they have more of a claim, we cannot by any right keep them out. And stay with me here because this is a huge logical leap (sarcasm), if someone has more of a claim to something, typically that thing is/should be returned. Now, if it is better for earlier land thieves to have the land than for later ones (as you implied), then it would be even better for Spain to have the southwest as they have an even earlier claim than Mexico.

        Wow, it sure is exhausting explaining an entire train of thought, literally leaving no minute point out, even though normal people talk with assumptions and implications.

        What of course you fail to do in addition to all this, is differentiate between wars and international affairs, and real internal rule of law. You might not remember this, but war was perfectly legal for many millennia. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo legally ceded the southwest to the US. It is not Mexico anymore. And Americans today are not responsible for what happened over a century and a half ago. As in, they have every right to make and enforce strict immigration laws.

      • @derlehrer

        Call it what you wall, there was a war, and when the dust settled we owned Texas. Had Mexico a bigger army, they would have owned it. I will admit to taking some liberties in my description for the point of a good story – but it was not my intention to misrepresent the facts.

        The South declared their independence and set up a government. Did that mean they really were a separate country during that time? The Northerners didn’t think so. Texas declared their independence from Mexico, yet Mexico disagreed – same difference.

      • I’ll add that the irony of the US beating up on newer independent colonies has always made me sick, but that it is irrelevant to the immigration discussion.

      • Well, CH, it depends upon whether you believe in self-determination or not. If you do, then when a people say they are independent and institute a new state, then that is the case.

      • @ CrazyH –

        Texas was an independent Republic for nine years. Mexico fought against the Texicans, not against the United States.

        When the government of the Republic of Texas agreed to annexation to the Union, hostilities arose between Mexico and the United States.

        This is not comparable to the War Between the States in any fashion, but even if it were, following a war “to the victor belong the spoils.”

        Your analogy isn’t valid.

        🙂

        🙂

      • When two countries have irreconcilable conflict, war is the result, and whichever is mightiest triumphs, and thus is considered ‘right.’ So you’re technically correct in your complaint that “might makes right.” But what other outcome or resolution could there be if two countries want to fight over something? Of course the “mightiest” wins.

      • I agree, derleher. The only thing I could say otherwise is that the Texan agitators were Americans (or former Americans) even if Mexico wasn’t fighting the American state.

      • @Jack

        Yer cute, kid, not too bright, but cute.

        > You said that we cannot complain about illegal Mexicans because their country has more of a claim to the southwest than we do.

        No I didn’t. I noted that it was hypocritical to do so.

        > since they have more of a claim, we cannot by any right keep them out.

        Now you’re starting to stretch it….

        > if someone has more of a claim to something, typically that thing is/should be returned.

        … I can see your reasoning but *I* didn’t say that, *you* did …

        > Now, if it is better for earlier land thieves to have the land than for later ones (as you implied), then it would be even better for Spain to have the southwest as they have an even earlier claim than Mexico.

        … and now you’ve gone completely off the deep end.

        > As in, they have every right to make and enforce strict immigration laws.

        I never said otherwise. (as noted in my previous post.)

        AGAIN: my point is solely to highlight the hypocrisy, nowhere did I propose any solutions. Those were your inventions. My solution: Dissolve all borders and sing Kumbaya, but that ain’t gonna happen. Instead, I’ll sit back, watch the world collapse & hope I die peacefully before the apocalypse.

      • @ Jack Heart –

        I can’t totally agree, because the Texicans had moved there fully intent on being subjects of Mexico. A groundswell protesting the Mexican government provoked them into outright rebellion — and even some Mexicans joined their cause.

      • We own the land. They do not. There is no hypocrisy. It is your own invention. We don’t have to say, “Oh gosh and golly gee, they ought not be here but then again neither should we since our ancestors stole this land!”

      • @jack

        > We own the land. They do not.

        That’s the smartest thing you’ve said all week.

        > There is no hypocrisy.

        What was that you said about explaining things in minute detail? Sorry, I can’t dumb it down any further. Ask your mommy to read it, maybe she can explain it to you.

      • Again, so we “stole” the land. What is it that you want us to do? Admit this? Feel guilty? Give it back? What? All peoples try to control who enters their countries. Are they supposed to stop because it is hypocritical since all peoples have illegally entered other territories in the past?

      • @derlehrer

        Love the cartoon. History tells us that the good guys always win out over the bad guys. This is because the victors write the history books. Hence, the noble Europeans selflessly brought the benefits of civilization to the savage Indians.

        I’m re-reading Zinn’s excellent “People’s History of the United States” I highly recommend it if you’ve never read it before.

      • @Jack –

        Are these supposed to be the unanswered questions? Very well…

        > Admit this?

        Yes.

        > Feel guilty?

        No.

        > Give it back?

        No.

        > What?

        In the case of the Indians, some substantial efforts at reparations. In the case of the Mexicans, not so much. As you noted above, that was how international business was conducted at the time. Now we have laws against obtaining territory by force. (Not that we pay attention to those laws today, but at least we wrote them down.)

        The official American narrative is that we have never done wrong. This leads us to believe that we can do no wrong and therefore everything we do is right by definition.

        Admitting our mistakes helps us to grow into better people – that’s just as true for countries as it is for individuals.

      • Then we don’t appear to have any disagreement. How odd. When have I ever said America can do no wrong? You might want to adjust your language though. You speak like someone who is very much into laying on the white guilt.

Leave a Reply